Probate is the process of getting legal authorisation to manage someone’s affairs and divide up their Estate after they pass away. Checking if Probate is needed and applying for this if necessary is usually the responsibility of the Executor – the person appointed to manage this process.
While Probate is needed in most cases, there are certain circumstances where Probate isn’t necessary.
If the deceased left only a small amount of money and did not own any property, they may be considered to have what is known as a ‘small Estate.’ Banks, building societies, and other organisations holding the deceased’s assets (savings, investments, etc.) may be happy to release these to the Executor without official permission – called a ‘grant of Probate.’ Still, different companies have different policies around this, so they must be handled one by one.
A bank or other company might insist on the Executor having a grant of Probate in place before releasing anything, even if the Estate is considered small. There is no choice but to go through the Probate process in this case.
Things like life insurance and pension schemes that pay out a lump sum on death don’t usually need Probate to be released to their beneficiaries.
The other main scenario where Probate isn’t needed is when all of the deceased’s assets are in joint names with someone else. For instance, if someone joint-owns a property with their spouse or partner when they die, it will automatically pass to the surviving partner.
If you’re not sure whether or not you need to apply for Probate, it is a good idea to speak to a professional to get advice. Proper inheritance planning and having Wills and a funeral plan in place will mean that your loved ones Will be taken care of if the worst does happen, and the process Will be as simple as possible for them.
Contact Capital Life today to see how we can help.